Texas Southern-Gonzaga Preview
It's possible that Gonzaga's Mark Few is the best coach in the country who has yet to reach a Final Four, but this could be the season he puts an end to that distinction.
On Monday night, he'll be facing a coach who has reached a national semifinal - though Mike Davis has to be envious of Few's current situation.
The No. 8 Bulldogs look to extend the nation's second-longest home win streak to 32 when they try to drop Davis and Texas Southern to 0-8 on the road.
Gonzaga (9-1) recovered from losing to No. 3 Arizona last Saturday with back-to-back double-digit wins over Pac-12 foes, beating Washington State 81-66 on Wednesday and UCLA 87-74 on Saturday.
The latest victory was impressive, as the Bulldogs never trailed in handing the Bruins their first home defeat.
''It's awesome to come in here and get a big win on the road,'' said forward Kyle Wiltjer, who scored 24 points. ''We're a ranked team and we know we have a target on our backs.''
One piece of the puzzle that is new for Gonzaga is Southern California transfer Byron Wesley, who returned to the Los Angeles area and scored 20 points for the second straight game as he shot 7 of 8. He was 10 of 14 on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs are among the top-shooting teams in the nation at 53.3 percent. They made 58.5 percent Saturday.
Few appears to have one of his more talented squads as he faces Davis, who guided Indiana to the NCAA title game in 2001-02 in his second season as a head coach. Davis is on his second stop since leaving the Hoosiers in his third season with Texas Southern.
He led the Tigers (1-7) to the NCAA tournament a season ago as they captured the Southwestern Athletic Conference title. Davis has been forced to play another road-heavy schedule against high-profile teams, such Florida, which beat his squad 75-50 on Friday.
Texas Southern never led in a contest in which it was paid $80,000 by the Gators to come to town. It was the second road game of 10 in a row for Davis' team.
''We play these games against great teams to see how they play and copy what they do so our guys can see it firsthand,'' he said. ''We have a really difficult nonconference schedule. Hopefully we can build from this and get better in our conference.''
The Tigers are adjusting to life without Aaric Murray, who led the SWAC a season ago with 21.6 points per game.
Chris Thomas is the conference's leading scorer with 16.1 points per game in his first season with Texas Southern after transferring from Marshall. Nebraska transfer Deverell Biggs is second on the team with 11.4 points.
Gonzaga hasn't lost at home since an 85-74 defeat to then-No. 13 Illinois on Dec. 8, 2012.
The Bulldogs coasted in the last meeting with the Tigers, 84-42 on Dec. 18, 2008.